In the last issue we reported a judgment where we had challenged the government who had denied compensation to a miner under the VWF scheme. We have now had a second success, arguing that the claimant’s injuries were caused by using compressed air tools underground, a claim which the employers have rejected. The claimant was an 88-year-old man who had worked for more than 40 years at Easington Colliery.

Talbot -v- British Coal Corporation. Newcastle County Court, 10 May 2007.

Smith award rejected

The claimant suffered a breast bone and post traumatic stress disorder following a road traffic accident. At trial she continued to suffer from the injuries and still had a fear of driving. The Judge refused to make a Smith award on the basis that, while she was less able to carry out strenuous physical work and was theoretically limited to the type of work she could do, she had worked for many years in a variety of jobs both full and part-time in the clerical field and was now fit to do full range clerical work.

The appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. The Judge was entitled to concluded that there was no real risk that she would be out of work on the basis that the only available work was physical.

Johnson -v- Warren. Court of Appeal, 2 May 2007.

Judge not bound by medical anticipation of a full recovery

The claimant suffered a modest injury to her neck and back and minor abrasions to a knee and elbow. The medical report anticipated a full recovery within a year. At trial, the claimant still had ongoing residual symptoms. The Judge accepted what the claimant said about her ongoing symptoms and thought that she was an honest witness.

He accepted the claimant’s arguments that a further medical report was not necessary as she was only suffering from minor symptoms and had an expert been instructed this would have been frowned upon by the defendants. The medical report was merely a prediction of when she was expected to recover. He awarded general damages of £3,250, the defendants having paid into court £2,000.

Chatterton -v- McCabe. Newcastle County Court, 30 April 2007